Across the River (And Other Thoughts on a Sunday)

It’s been so long since I’ve just sat down and written anything here. Just written. Just said whatever it was that I wanted to say in that moment.

Most of the time, thoughts come to me at night right before I go to bed, but I let them go, because I’m tired. (There is always more to be done than can get done.)

But I have been thinking, a lot, almost every day, what it is like to be on this side of the river, delivered to the land for which I prayed.

The problem with being on this side of the river is that it’s filled with the business of living, which leaves less time for reflection.

Because all of a sudden you’re married or you’re parenting or you’re working hard at that job you longed for or you are studying at the school you worked hard and prayed fervently to be able to attend.

The thing about being delivered is that it happens in an instant. One day I was single and the next day, there he was. Just a guy I met at the dog park.

One day we were childless; waiting and preparing. The next day, our son was born and we journeyed across the country to get to him.

Those are the stories that I wish I could go back in time and tell to myself.

How frustrated God must have been with me at times (if God gets frustrated, which maybe he doesn’t?) when I cried and whined and felt persecuted. When will it be my turn??  I so often asked.

I bet He shook His head and said, “Johanna, I am working. It is coming. It will be worth the wait. Would I give you anything less?”

And that’s what I want you to know: God cannot give you a bad gift. If evil fathers give their children bread, rather than the snakes and scorpions they perhaps deserve, HOW MUCH MORE will God give you when you ask him for something? (Matthew 7)

If you are still waiting. If you are still in the desert. Your river crossing is coming. It may take a wild act of faith (step into the rushing river, Joshua!), but you will cross that river. The land on the other side may not look how you imagined or even wished for, but there is land on the other side of that river, and it is filled with the exact thing that you need. And it will be good.

Even thought we are now parents—I am now someone’s mother—I feel like our story is still being written.

Our house is not full yet.

My friend Amy, a prayer warrior if there ever was one, e-mailed me a few months ago to tell me she was already praying for the continued building of our family. She said, I’m not sure if you’re ready for more kids, but I am calling out for them!

He settles the barren woman in her home, the happy mother of children (Psalm 113:9).

I see a house bursting with children. Harry a big brother to many. Can you imagine?

We may be old. We may have gotten started later. We may still have little ones when most of our friends are sending their kids off to college.

I don’t know.

I can’t see everything, but I see a glimpse.

I am trusting Him to write our story, because why wouldn’t I? Look at what He has written so far!

Jesus saved me, the worst of all sinners, so that you would see what He says and what He has done is TRUE. (1 Tim 1:16, paraphrase).

I don’t know what your story looks like or what you are waiting for.

I know that life is terribly hard. This world that we live in is mightily unfair.

But He longs for you, sisters. His heart breaks for you. He wants you desperately.

A few months ago, a member of our church lost her baby at 15 weeks gestation. It was her second loss; her first was also born too early and in between her two angels she gave birth to two more sons.

They held a short memorial service to remember their fourth baby, and the pastor told the story she’d relayed to him after she’d lost their first baby, before she was a believer.

She said that she related to the analogy of Jesus being a shepherd, because of one of the ways a shepherd draws his sheep.

The reason we often see shepherds holding baby lambs over their shoulders is because the sheep will follow wherever their babies go. So when the shepherd wants to move the flock, he wraps a baby around his neck, and the flock follows. She said that when they lost Aiden, it was as if Jesus gathered up her baby, placed him on His shoulders and took him to heaven.

“And I followed,” she said.

I don’t know what pain you are suffering today, but I know what if you trust Him with it, He will redeem it.

I want you to remember that we are already more than conquerors.


  1. jamie says

    to God be the glory for his works in you and how these stories will touch many who need it. :)

  2. says

    Johanna, seriously, thank you for this post. Psalm 113 has been on my mind for a while now. (I think I even tweeted it maybe last week or the week before.) We, too, are believing God for more children, and just generally more in our life together. The abundant life that God promises. So, thank you for this reminder during our (sometimes excruciatingly difficult) waiting period.

  3. Jolene (Aiden and Jeremiah's mommy) says

    And I continue to follow…

    • jamielynn says

      Thanls johanna for the encouragement. that you shared jolenes story. It was a moment and a story that changed my heart. Forever.

  4. says

    Beautifully written! Thank you! For me it feels like God is all over the place with this message.